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BHP Billiton, Vale JV Samarco seeking approvals for restarting operations

BHP BillitonGroup said on May 6 that the Samarco Mineração SA joint venture with has begun the process ofseeking approvals with a view to restarting operations at the iron ore mine inBrazil's Minas Gerais state.

The statement followed news that Brazil's Federal Court of Appeal ratified the15-year agreement entered into by the joint venture for the rehabilitation ofthe damage caused by the dambreach that killed 19 people and devastated several communities.

BHP did not put a timeline on the restart, saying Samarco'soperations will "restart only when it is safe to do so, and when allregulatory approvals are granted and accepted by the relevant authorities andcommunities."